Conservative Bloggers Criticize Pelosi For Hiring ThinkProgress Editor-in-Chief

Conservative bloggers voiced outrage, yesterday, over a decision by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to appoint former Kerry-Edwards staffer Faiz Shakir as Director of New Media.

Shakir is Editor-in-Chief of the liberal blog, which came under fire earlier in the year, after several of its bloggers published anti-Semitic remarks on the internet. According to The Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal, bloggers at the site also used Twitter to accuse Israel of practicing apartheid and made use of the anti-Semitic term “Israel-firsters”, suggesting that some American Jews valued Israel above America.

So troubling were these posts, that, according to The Jerusalem Post, Jarrod Bernstein, White House liaison to the Jewish community, told the Simon Wiesenthal Center that they were “troubling”. He reassured the center that the attitude of ThinkProgress’s bloggers toward Israel was not shared by the Obama administration.

The Wiesenthal Center had previously issued a press release, decrying the remarks of the ThinkProgress bloggers, saying, that ThinkProgress was “guilty of dangerous political libels.” Meanwhile, The Washington Post’s right-leaning writer Jennifer Rubin accused the blog of “peddling extreme anti-Israel views.”

Other conservative bloggers, including Frontpage Magazine’s Daniel Greenfield, criticized Pelosi for appointing Shakir, saying that the move showed that, while the White House had distanced itself from the remarks of ThinkProgress’s bloggers, the move was only temporary. Greenfield also accused Shakir of “repeatedly” attacking Israel and for raising funds for Israel’s enemies and criticized Pelosi for hiring someone with such a history.
It is worth noting that, in an e-mail obtained by the Jerusalem Post, Shakir allegedly agreed that the use of the term Israel-firster was anti-Semitic. It is also worth noting that he,reportedly, asked Zaid Jilani, one of the bloggers responsible for such comments, to remove them from his Twitter feed. However, Jilani remains a senior reporter/blogger for the web site.

While conservative bloggers were critical of Pelosi’s appointment of Shakir, The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein saw the move as a wise choice. Stein praised Shakir for being “well-versed” in political debate and reporting. He also praised Shakir for turning ThinkProgress into a site for breaking news, rather than just a site for analyzing news that had already been reported. However, Stein steered clear of mentioning ThinkProgress’s controversial attitude toward Israel and Jewish Americans.

Filed Under: Politics


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Miranda Flint About the Author: Miranda has a B.A. in political science and has worked over a decade as a news reporter, financial news writer and political blogger. More about Miranda

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